County Commission schedules public meeting

Tim Walker
AMR Reporter

During an otherwise rather routine Pocahontas County Commission meeting July 21, the commission scheduled a public meeting to discuss Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development loan application. The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, August 20, in the courtroom on the second floor of the courthouse.

At its February 18 meeting, the commission authorized PMH to apply for a $5-to-$7 million construction loan. The final amount of the loan would depend on the USDA’s analysis of PMH’s finances. The loan would finance both an expansion of hospital facilities and renovation of existing facilities to enable PMH to expand their out-patient services.

PMH CEO Mary Beth Barr told the commissioners that the USDA requires that a public meeting be held on the loan application. She said that there must be two consecutive weekly notices of the meeting published in the newspaper at least 10 days before the meeting. After authorizing the publications of the meeting notice and scheduling the meeting, the commissioners advised Barr that PMH should have the architects, financial people and the auditor present at the meeting to answer questions from the public.

At the last commission meeting, Chris Giannini, who owns a security alarm-closed circuit TV and investigation business in Ohio as well as a home on Gum Road in the Cass area, addressed the commissioners about being allowed to use his company’s cable installers to connect the residents of Gum Road to existing fiber-optic lines near Gum Road. He offered to do this at no cost.  Commissioner Walt Helmick agreed to talk with the county broadband coordinator, Mike Holstine, to determine if this was feasible.

Giannini returned to the July 21 meeting to find out what Helmick had learned. Helmick said he had a meeting scheduled for July 22 with Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton and Holstine and would report what he learned at the next commission meeting.
In other actions, the commissioners:

• approved the hire Mia L. Friel as a part time employee at the animal shelter, not to exceed 1,039 hours per year.

• authorized the Emergency Management and 911 Director Mike O’Brien to request reimbursement from the FEMA Public Assistance Reimbursement Grant and to replace the underground power line at the Spruce Flats 911 tower at a cost of about $20,000. O’Brien said that they have been running this critical communication tower on generator which is very expensive, and putting the power line underground is actually less expensive then putting in an overhead line.

• appointed Sara Brock to a five-year term on the Pocahontas County Board of Health.

• approved a budget revision and resolution for the unencumbered balance being carried over from last fiscal year to this fiscal year.

The Pocahontas County Commission meets the first Tuesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. and the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m.

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